Saturday, September 29, 2007
The Riders trailed 4-0 after one quarter, before scoring 19 unanswered points in the second quarter. Corey Holmes scored his first two touchdowns since returning from Hamilton, on a 1 yard run and a 16 yard pass from Kerry Joseph. Joseph completed 26 of 40 passes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns. KJ also ran for 73 yards.
Next up, the Riders travel to Calgary for a Thanksgiving Day tilt with the Stampeders. A win gives Saskatchewan a 5 point lead over the Stamps for 2nd in the West, and makes a home playoff game a very, very real possibility for the green gang.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Rookie netminder Jeff Bosch was yanked after giving up the 7th goal. Bosch will have better nights in his WHL career. To be fair, he received virtually no help from his defense.
The Pats need to rebound quickly, as they visit Brandon tomorrow night before returning home to host the top-rated Calgary Hitmen Sunday evening.
The National Hockey League has handed down its verdict on the Flyers' Steve Downie.
Colin Campbell, the NHL's executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, has suspended Downie for 20 games for his hit on Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond in Thursday's exhibition game.
If Downie is cut by the Flyers he will have to serve the suspension when he returns to the NHL.
The 20 games is the fifth longest suspension handed down by the league. New York Islanders' Chris Simon holds the longest at 25 games for his two-handed stick attack to the face of Ryan Hollweg of the New York Rangers last season.
The Flyers were leading 2-1 when, at the 2:39 mark of the second, Downie skated the length of the ice and took a run at McAmmond, who had just released the puck while circling behind the Flyers' net and was met by Downie coming around the other side. Downie also appeared to leave his feet as he flattened the veteran. The jarring hit came moments after Downie was checked into the glass by Ottawa's Christoph Schubert in the Senators' zone.
The Senators forward was carried off on a stretcher, and the Senators announced earlier this week that there was a concussion and some muscle damage but no fractures.
McAmmond also suffered a concussion after a hit by Anaheim defenceman Chris Pronger in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final last June. He's now had three concussions in four years.
The 20-year-old prospect gained a reputation at the junior level for some nasty play, but following Thursday's game said the hit wasn't pre-meditated, nor did he intend to go for McAmmond's head.
Tomorrow, the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the Montreal Alouettes. The Riders will try to snap a three game losing skid, and they'll be without the services of SuperFan Jacob Paczko. Tell me, who with even a modicum of common sense schedules a kid's birthday party at the same time as a Rider game? So I'll be dropping the progeny off at his buddy's party over the noon hour - take the opportunity to casually imply that the birthday boy's parents are morons - race over to the game, then race back to pick up the Jakester afterwards. Good times!
Sunday night, it's the top-ranked team in the CHL - the Calgary Hitmen - coming to town to take on the Pats. Can't miss that one either!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Pats Roar Out of the Gate
The Regina Pats sport a 2-0 record, after a pair of weekend victories over the Prince Albert Raiders to open the WHL season. The Pats knocked off the Raiders 4-2 in the season opener in Prince Albert Friday night. 18-year old blueliner Nick Ross broke a 2-2 tie in the third period, just two days after returning from the Phoenix Coyotes’ training camp. Other scorers for the Pats were Jordan Eberle, Jared Jagow and Michael MacAngus.
The win came with a steep price tag for the Pats, though. 20-year old Latvian forward Kaspars Sauletis was lost for up to three months with a badly separated shoulder. Sauletis was injured on his first shift of game, when he crashed into the boards awkwardly while forechecking.
"I'm really disappointed," Saulietis told the Regina Leader-Post. "I was so pumped (to come back to Regina). I thought this season would be great for me, then, first shift, first game and everything is done. But I should get over that and keep working. The season is long."
Saulietis’ injury leaves left-winger Troy Ofukany as the lone 20-year old on the Pats roster, while Czech rookie Rudolph Cerveny is the other import player on the team.
"It's just unlucky," Pats head coach Curtis Hunt said to the Leader-Post. "The nice thing is we have enough depth where we can insert people in our lineup. The bad news is we've lost a quality player and a good influence for an extended period of time."
There was no time for the Pats to dwell on the misfortune, however. The same teams locked up Sunday afternoon in Regina’s home opener. This time, the Pats prevailed 5-1, in front of a boisterous crowd of 5,303 who came to celebrate the opening of the team’s 90th season.
"We had the crowd behind us the whole night," right-winger Brett Leffler observed to the Leader-Post. The third year power forward scored on the first shot of the game and added one assist. "The biggest thing with a crowd like that is controlling your emotions. We wanted to come out hard but we didn't want to do anything too stupid. In the end, we got the win."
Jordan Eberle and Nick Ross scored their second goals of the young season for the Pats, who also got goals from newly-minted captain Logan Pyett and ex-Raider Cody Gross.
Head Coach Curtis Hunt credits the fan support for providing his team with an emotional boost in the home opener. "We knew it would be a tough building for the visitors but we didn't want to take anything for granted. We wanted to keep the fans in the game as much as possible. Anytime you get that seventh man involved it becomes pretty intimidating for a visitor. The fan support was outstanding. I look forward to a year of great hockey and giving our fans something to be proud of."
The Pats return to action Friday night, when the Red Deer Rebels visit the Brandt Centre. Regina visits Brandon Saturday, before returning home to face the Calgary Hitmen – the top-rated WHL team in the preseason rankings – Sunday evening.
PATS & GIANTS MAKE TRADE
Regina, Saskatchewan - Thursday, September 27th, the Regina Pats announced this morning that they have made a four player trade with the Vancouver Giants. The Regina Pats are shipping forward Mike Reich and defencemen Craig Schira to Vancouver, in exchange for forward Tim Kraus and defencemen Juraj Valach.
Reich, the native of Craik SK, has appeared in 2 games with the Pats this season, and has accumulated 7 penalty minutes. Reich (5'10", 185lb) suited up for 61 games with the Pats last season, collecting 15 goals and 7 assists, also racking up 187 penalty minutes.
Schira, the native of Spiritwood, SK, had been with the Pats organization for 4 years, collecting a total of 68 points in 206 games played. Schira was originally drafted by Pats in 2003 WHL Bantam Draft, when he was drafted in the 6th round, 111th overall. This season, Schira had collected 1 assist in 2 games played with the Pats.
In exchange, the Pats receive two players, headlined by 20-year old Tim Kraus. Kraus comes to the Pats after being the 2nd leading scorer on the Giants last season. He collected 19 goals and 47 assists for 66 points in 70 games. The 6'0", 180lb product of Garden Grove, CA, Kraus brings a wealth of experience and scoring punch to the Pats line-up.
With the move, the Pats also fill their 2nd import roster spot by bringing in Juraj Valach, a native of Zvolen, Slovkia. 18 year-old Valach (6'6",210lb) is playing in his second campaign in the WHL, having collected 7 goals and 23 assists in 58 games with the Tri City Americans last season. So far this season, Valach has 1 goal and 3 assists in 2 games played with the Giants.
"We are excited about what Tim Kraus and Juraj Valach will bring to our hockey club. Having said that we are losing two talented players and tremendous young men in Craig and Mike. It is no secret that we were looking to add another scoring forward and to get top players you have to give up good players in return. I believe that this will be a good deal for both team and I wish Craig and Mike nothing but success in Vancouver and in their hockey careers" - Commented Pats General Manager Brent Parker.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Media Statement – Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Eric Tillman Fined
Toronto, ON - (September 26, 2007) - The Commissioner’s Office announced today that it has fined Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager and VP of Football Operations Eric Tillman $1,000 for publicly making comments disparaging to the B.C. Lions Football Club.
No further comments will be made by the Canadian Football League on this matter.
Whattya say? Should we take up a collection to cover the cost of the fine? Maybe one of the local radio stations will get the ball rolling on that.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Canadian Football League imposed a one-game suspension on B.C. Lions offensive lineman Sherko Haji-Rasouli for his involvement in an altercation during the September 22nd game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium.
Lions offensive lineman Rob Murphy and receiver Cory Rodgers have each been fined an undisclosed amount for their involvement in the altercation.
"This type of action will not be tolerated," commented CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. "While our game is intense and played with emotion, our players are required to act professionally and with respect to their opponents and the game at all times."
The one-game suspension is pending a formal review hearing that may be requested by the player.
The question now is, will H-R actually serve the suspension, or will it be overturned through the (ahem) highly credible arbitration process? Stay tuned!
SportZone Guests for September 24/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews
1. A profile of the Winston Knoll football team, co-leaders in the RIFL 4A conference. Guests: Kelly Adams (Wolverines Head Coach) & Jordan Yantz (QB).
2. A look at youth curling opportunities available through Curl Regina this winter. Guest: Jan Betker (Youth Curling Coordinator).
3. A preview of the season-ending Enduro race at King’s Park Speedway. Guests: Jim “Sharky” Braden & Greg Wagner (Racers).
4. A profile of the ACFC Milano women’s soccer team, representing Saskatchewan at the national club championships. Guests: Carlos Bravo (Coach) & Lara Guzik-Rostad (Player).
5. A profile of the U of R men’s hockey team’s new assistant coach, a former Cougar and NHL player. Guest: Todd Elik (Cougars Assistant Coach).
6. A Regina athlete captures three gold medals at the World Senior Track & Field Championships. Guests: Carol Lafayette-Boyd (World champion) & Terry Mountjoy (Excel Athletika Head Coach).
7. A preview of the 2007/08 season for the Regina Capitals junior B hockey club. Guests: Don Pankewich (Capitals GM & Head Coach) & Cliff May (Capitals forward).
Sunday, September 23, 2007
In case you missed it, the Riders dropped a 37-34 decision to the B.C. Lions Saturday night, in front of a full house of 28,800 fans at Mosaic Stadium. The Lions scored the winning points on a 33 yard pass from Jarious Jackson to Geroy Simon with 34 seconds left in regulation time. The Leos faced a 3rd and 6 situation, however Simon ran through matador coverage by Rontarious Robinson, and past a completely baffled safety Tristan Clovis en route to an easy score.
So, now the Riders have lost three in a row, to drop to 7-5 and three points back of the Leos for top spot in the west. Once again, the defence was unable to come up with a key play in a critical situation, and the offense was unable to move the ball in the late stages of the game. Any of this starting to sound familiar?
As Rider coach Kent Austin has repeatedly said, there are a handful of plays in the course of a game that make the difference between winning and losing. I counted three:
- Clovis' aforementioned brain cramp on the winning touchdown;
- Sean Lucas' inability to snare a gift-wrapped interception, with nothing but open field between him and the end zone; and,
- Kerry Joseph's inability to hit a wide-open Andy Fantuz on a corner route late in the fourth quarter.
Had any of the players in question made the plays above when given the chance, the Riders would have won the game, and the season series with B.C. It didn't happen, and the freefall continues.
On a much brighter note, the Regina Pats improved their record to 2-0 on the WHL season with a 5-1 pasting of the Prince Albert Raiders Sunday afternoon. The Pats braintrust spoke of the need for balanced scoring in the pre-season, and five different players scored for the winners today. So far, so good.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The Pats opened the WHL season with a 4-2 win in Prince Albert. However, import forward Kaspars Sauletis was lost for up to 3 months with a badly separated shoulder. That leaves the Pats braintrust with some tough decisions to make.
This afternoon, I'll pick up young Jacob and catch the Riders and B.C. Lions at Mosaic. Hopefully Austin's crew will snap out of their two-game tailspin in front of a sold-out stadium, and reclaim first place in the West.
Then tomorrow, it's off to the Brandt Centre in the afternoon for the Pats home opener. Anyone wanna rake some leaves for me? Regina is serving up a sports smorgasbord this weekend, and I just don't have the time!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I got the feeling from talking to Head Coach Curtis Hunt on SportZone last night that a trade or two is in the works to address the team's lack of scoring punch. Since the blueline is an obvious source of depth, it wouldn't be a major shock to see a veteran defenceman dealt - but first the Pats have to make sure Logan Pyett and Nick Ross are returned to junior by the Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. Stay tuned!
SportZone Guests for September 17/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo
1. A preview of the 2007/08 season for the Regina Pats. Guest: Curtis Hunt (Pats Head Coach).
2. The Sheldon-Williams Spartans look to defend their Regina High School 4A football championship. Guests: Kyle McFetridge (Spartans Head Coach), Ryan Wellman (QB) & Ben Heenan (OL).
3. The Riffel Royals have designs on the 4A city high school football championship as well. Guests: Shawn McCall (Royals Assistant Coach), Aaron Watson (QB) & Derek Pilon (DB).
4. A profile of the University of Regina cross-country team. Guests: Carla Nicholls (Head Coach), Scott Mitchell & Alicia Roske (Runners).
5. A preview of the 2007 Regina Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner. Guests: Marlene Hoffman (Hall President) & Doug Simon (2007 inductee).
6. An update on the Regina Thunder junior football club, gearing up to host the arch-rival Saskatoon Hilltops this weekend. Guests: Tyler Hogan (LB) & Steve Arens (DL).
Saturday, September 15, 2007
- All of the above
by the Calgary Stampeders, dropping Saskatchewan's record to 7-4. Once again, the Rider defence was unable to defend against the pass or stop the run. That doesn't leave many options, does it? Defensive back Jermaine Chatman was beaten more often than (insert predictable and probably inappropriate Michael Vick/dog joke here).
The offense was equally inept. Receiver D.J. Flick had a solid game. That concludes the list of offensive contributors, with the possible exception of tailback Wes Cates. I could go into excruciating detail about the blunders, miscues and generally awful performance of this team the past two games (and past five games for the defense), but I'll leave that to the coaching staff. As Austin said after the game - everything, and everyone, is under review after a performance like that. I think we can expect personnel (and probably tactical) changes this week. At least I certainly hope so! The fans have done their part by selling out the stadium for next weekend's game against B.C. It'd be darn handy if the team were to show up as well.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Training Camp Down to Short Strokes
By Pete Paczko
Aspiring Regina Pats are running out of opportunities to impress the coaching staff, as the team has just one exhibition contest left to tune up for the WHL regular season. The Pats travel to Kindersley Friday evening to take on the Swift Current Broncos. Currently, the Pats have 29 names on the roster, including injured players and those attending NHL training camps. Regina sports a 3-2 record on the preseason circuit, following a 4-1 loss in Medicine Hat Sunday evening. The loss continues Regina’s recent string of futility against the Tigers, including last spring’s 4-game sweep in the second round of the WHL playoffs.
The most recent loss to the Tigers also created some concerns among the members of the Pats brain trust. "Some of our veteran guys need to understand they're competing for jobs," Pats General Manager Brent Parker told the Regina Leader-Post. "Our young guys who think they're in a good position need to understand they're competing for jobs and they need to learn how hard you have to play in this league every night. It can't be a sometimes thing, it has to be all the time. I don't think we had enough guys competing at the level we expect of them and that they should expect of themselves."
The Pats, and their fans, are still waiting to see who will emerge as the top candidates to centre the team’s top two lines. Leading scorers Kyle Ross and Garrett Festerling have moved on, creating a large hole down the middle – literally – of the lineup. Newcomers Matt Strueby and Cody Gross are among the early contenders to replace Ross and Festerling on the first and second lines. Gross leads the team in preseason scoring with 7 points. The speedy centre was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oil Kings; just hours after Edmonton had selected him from Prince Albert in the WHL expansion draft.
“Everyone is making it a really easy adjustment to the city and the team," Gross told the Leader-Post. "The coaches are unbelievable, always positive. They just want to see you do good. It's just a great group of guys. Everyone seems to get along. It should transfer onto the ice as well."
Gross notched six goals and five assists in 55 games as a rookie on the Raiders’ fourth line last season. He realizes he has an opportunity to significantly increase his ice time – and point production – this season. "I see myself being more of an offensive player; hopefully I can provide that. This team looks great - lots of depth up front and especially on the back. I haven't been on a winning team in a few years. I'm looking forward to it."
Returning centre Jared Jagow, who was deployed primarily in a defensive role last season, also is vying for increased ice time. Jagow helped his own cause with a three goal effort in a 4-2 win over Saskatoon Saturday night.
The Pats open the regular season in Prince Albert September 21. Regina’s home opener is September 23, also against the Raiders.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
SportZone Guests for September 10/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic
1. A profile of a former Regina Pats star, now working and coaching at Notre Dame. Guest: Dale Derkatch (Director, Hockey Development – Athol Murray College of Notre Dame).
2. A Regina midget AA hockey team will represent this country at a tournament in Russia next spring. Guests: Don Lindsay (Regina Prairie Nationals Head Coach) & Jeff Herback (Team Chairman).
3. A preview of the 2007/08 Regina High School sports season. Guest: Greg Johnson (RHSAA Commissioner).
4. A profile of the 2007 University of Regina women’s soccer team. Guests: Janeen Snell & Tarina Mayer (Co-Captains).
5. Saskatchewan teams return from the U16 and U19 boy’s lacrosse championships. Guest: Doug Pederson (U16 Head Coach).
6. A preview of the 2007/08 athletics season at the University of Regina. Guest: Dick White (U of R Director of Athletics).
Sunday, September 09, 2007
The loss snaps the Riders' five game winning streak, and drops their record to 7-3, which is still good enough for first place in the overall standings.
No question, Winnipeg came to play, and the Bombers exploited Rider weaknesses on both sides of the ball. To wit:
- Sean Lucas - The Riders linebacker has looked lost for three straight games. A change is in order.
- For the second week in a row, the Riders were unable to get any sort of pressure on Bombers pivot Kevin Glenn. When the Riders blitzed, the Bombers did a stellar job of picking up the extra pass rushers, and Glenn unloaded the ball to ridiculously wide-open receivers.
- The Riders offensive line was manhandled in this game. Simple as that. Pass protection was brutal, and the running game was an afterthought.
- The officiating cost the Riders at least four big plays, including a long throw to Andy Fantuz late in the 2nd quarter that may have changed the complexion, if not the outcome, of the game. The play was ruled an incomplete pass, rather than a reception and fumble - which was recovered by Fantuz. After that, the rout was on.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
So, now Hamilton boasts an elite quarterback (Printers), running back (Jesse Lumsden) and linebacker (Zeke Moreno). One question - who is Printers expected to throw the ball to? With all due respect to U of R Rams alumnus Chris Bauman, Hamilton's receiving corps doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of too many CFL defensive coordinators!
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Quarterback Kerry Joseph was heroic for the winners, passing for 348 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But Joseph saved his best for last, scoring on a 27 yard run with a dozen seconds left in the game to give the green gang the victory. Suffice to say young Jacob was suitably impressed! My little fan(atic) was high-fiving everyone in sight - heck, he even hugged the old man! In public!
Next up, the same two teams do battle next week in Winnipeg. Historically, the rematch hasn't gone particularly well for the Riders. But this is a different team. And in this case, different is good! I'm not sure how this wild ride will finish, but I'm sure enjoying it while it lasts!